Erection problems (erectile dysfunction)

Erection problems, or erectile dysfunction, refer to a man's inability to achieve or maintain an erection that is sufficient to have satisfactory sex. Erection problems do not indicate a lack of sexual interest or desire, and the man may or may not be able to have orgasms or to ejaculate.

Erection problems can occur at any age but are more common as men age. Occasional episodes are considered normal and often do not indicate a serious problem.

The cause of erection problems may be physical (such as injury to the nerves or blood flow going to the penis) or psychological (such as anxiety or depression). Erection problems also can be caused by medications, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, or drug abuse.

Several treatments are available, including oral medications, a vacuum device, medications injected into the penis, and penile implant surgery. Counseling can help improve psychological factors.

Last Updated: May 21, 2008

Author: Monica Rhodes

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology/Oncology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.